No. 14 UC Santa Barbara Falls 3-1 at No. 7 UCLA
Los Angeles, Calif. - Four Gauchos had 12 or more kills but a pair of Bruins out-did them as No. 7 UCLA took a 3-1 victory over No. 14 UC Santa Barbara in Mountain Pacific Sport Federation volleyball action Wednesday at Pauley Pavilion. The victory secured the Bruins a spot in April's MPSF Tournament. Scores of the match were 29-31, 30-21, 30-24, and 33-31.
UCSB, which had won the previous two match-ups between the squads, dropped its overall record to 9-15 and is now 6-13 in the MPSF. Coming off a big upset win over Long Beach State on Mar. 29, UCLA improved to 16-11 overall and 11-8 in the league.
Outside hitter Garrett Muagututia smashed a match-high 26 kills and hit .600, while opposite Sean O'Malley was just behind with 25 kills and a .400 attack percentage for the Bruins. Muagututia was un-stoppable, adding a match-high 11 digs to complete his double-double. He also added a pair of service aces, two solo blocks, and a match-best 30 points.
D.J. Stromath had 11 kills and three aces for UCLA, while setter Kevin Ker racked up 70 assists.
Four Bruins hit better than .400 and they finished at .413 for the match. UCSB swung at .285.
UCSB was led by outside Mike Runkle and middle blocker Theo Brunner, who each tallied 14 kills. Outside hitter Phil Mathews had 12 kills and opposite Jeff Menzel finished with 10. Runkle led the Gauchos with 17 points as he had two aces and two block assists.
The win clinched a berth for UCLA in the upcoming MPSF Tournament. The Bruins join Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, and Brigham Young as the four squads that will be seeing postseason play.
The top eight teams in the MPSF advance to the postseason with number seven taking on number eight in a play-in to the MPSF tourney. The number one seed (the MPSF regular season champion) gets a bye in the quarterfinal round of the tournament.
Currently, UCSB sits in 10th place in the conference with an outside chance of finishing in the top eight.
Santa Barbara defeated UCLA 3-1 on Feb. 20 at Rob Gym, so the regular season series goes in the books as a split.
The Gauchos host reigning national champion and ninth-ranked UC Irvine Saturday, Apr. 5 at 7 p.m. The contest kicks off a three-match home stand that will wrap up the regular season as UCSB hosts Long Beach State on Friday, Apr. 11 and UC San Diego on Saturday, Apr. 12. Both of those tilts are also billed for 7 p.m. starts at Robertson Gymnasium.
All three matches can be heard live online at KCSB.org and the Long Beach contest can also be heard at KCSB 91.9 FM. In addition, Gametracker live stats will be available at UCSBGauchos.com.
Article courtesy of UC Santa Barbara athletics.